State told to prove fraud in Swiss cash
Posted Sunday, July 15 2012 at 23:30
- Kenya won’t recover Sh72bn stashed in Switzerland until it shows money was looted, says envoy
Kenya will not access the more than Sh72 billion held in Swiss banks until it proves those who stashed the money there obtained it illegally.
Swiss envoy to Kenya Jacques Pitteloud told the Nation that his government does not know whether the money had been fraudulently earned in Kenya before it was banked in Switzerland.
“The published statistical data do not reflect any connection to a criminal origin of the assets reported to the Swiss National Bank by the Swiss banks
“It is impossible for us to tell, out of these 818 million Swiss Francs (CHF), whether any or which proportion of it could be possibly of criminal origin,” he said in an interview in Nairobi at the weekend.
Mr Pitteloud, who was responding to a report by the Swiss National Bank (SNB)— the central bank of Switzerland— said it would amount to “judicial colonialism” if his country took over the responsibility of determining who committed fraud in Kenya.
“Switzerland cannot just say, ‘we think that this politician or this individual is corrupt!’ that is a decision by judicial authorities here in Kenya,” he said.
The report revealed last month that Kenya is among the countries in Africa, whose citizens and companies have huge amounts of money stored in the Swiss banks.
Overall, Swiss banks, according to SNB, are holding up to CHF1.54 trillion from foreigners.
Kenya suspects that the money obtained through Anglo-Leasing scandal was stored in Switzerland and other overseas havens.
But while the envoy admitted there could be money from dirty sources, he said only affected countries could identify how the individuals got it.
He said foreigners having illicit wealth in Swiss banks have learned their lessons, and were transferring their funds through an intricate web of shadow companies for fear of being exposed due to growing scrutiny.